Two-Thirds Of American Public Want Clean Energy Instead Of Fossil Fuels


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

The future, if Trump allows it to be. zhangyang13576997233/Shutterstock

Renewable energy – particularly wind and solar – has never been as cheap or as accessible as it is today. As the rest of the world takes a hint, the new Trump administration seems set on opening up oil pipelines and curiously digging up coal.

Yes, Trump’s in the White House and Congress is dominated by Republicans, so they might think they have a mandate to go fossil fuel crazy. However, apart from losing the popular vote by a considerable margin, the newly minted President should also note that most Americans – including many Republicans – do not agree with him on this issue.


Earlier this month, Pew Research conducted a survey of around 1,500 Americans from a range of demographics and with a variety of political affiliations.

When asked about what the nation’s priorities should be when it comes to investing in specific energy supplies, 65 percent said that alternative sources of energy, including wind and solar, should take the top spot. This is a jump up from the 60 percent of Americans who thought the same back in December 2014.


The new survey reveals that just 27 percent of the American public want the fossil fuel sector to expand. Even back in 2014, this value was just one point higher at 28 percent, down from 39 percent in late-2012. It seems, then, that support for coal, oil, and natural gas as a form of energy generation has been perhaps surprisingly low for several years now.

The same survey also notes that 81 percent of those that are registered Democrats or independents that lean towards the Democratic Party support the expansion of clean energy sources. Registered Republicans or Republican-leaning independents come in far lower in supporting this view, at 45 percent.


In fact, this survey reveals that a person’s position on the American political spectrum is a clear indicator of alternative energy support. The more liberal a person is, regardless of their party affiliation, the more likely they are to support it, whereas the opposite is true for conservative voters.

It should also come as no surprise then that the more liberal a person is, the more likely they are to accept that contemporary climate change is real, that it is man-made, and that it is a dire threat.

Age is also a factor here – 73 percent of respondents aged 18 to 49 want alternative energy to be a priority, a value that falls to 55 percent for those aged 50 and above.

Above all else, the take home message here is that the vast majority of the American public want the country to eschew fossil fuels for clean energy. Experts agree that it makes clear environmental and economic sense to do so too.


Are you listening, Mr President?


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